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Top universities to offer full degrees online in five years

What’s holding back Universities from granting more degrees online? Is the technology immature and the experience mind-numbing? Or are Universities simply trying to protect their brand and keeping degree prices high?

Daphne Koller of Coursera has some interesting comments on where things are going.

“Prof Koller said concerns about impersonal online learning were often built on an unrealistic image of traditional campus-based teaching – and that most students are not “walking on lawns next to ivy-clad buildings”.”

“It’s a false comparison to think it’s either anonymous online teaching or else a cosy armchair and individual tutors.”

“When you have a lecture hall with 300 people, you’re not getting personal interaction.”

Read more:

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Learning Glass or Lightboard?

Actually, they are two names for the same device. It’s a writing surface illuminated at the edges by LEDs. Instructors like the ability to face their audience.

“The newest addition to Goedl’s teaching toolbox is a light board, which she writes on as she records introduction lectures for each new course topic. The lecture capture tool allows her to face the camera while writing on a transparent surface. Light board technology also reverses whatever is written on the board during recording, so viewers do not see the content backwards.

The result is an innovative video lecture in which instructors appear to be writing in midair. The polished look keeps students interested and allows them to view the board and the instructor’s face during the entire lecture. During the traditional lecture format, instructors turn their backs to students in order to write on the board. In this process they may even block students’ view by standing in front of the board.”

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Learning Glass

For an online lecture to be engaging and interesting there are a lot of techniques which may be used to keep the viewer awake. Simple voice-overs of Powerpoints are generally thought to be about as boring as it gets.

One of the most recent and interesting approaches we’ve seen is called the “Learning Glass“, a device created by a physics professor at San Diego State University.

This approach allows clear, interactive viewing of the whiteboard/blackboard while the instructor makes direct eye contact with the students.

Our LC-100 and LC-110 Recorders provide for the left-right horizontal flip required to implement the capture of a Learning Glass session. Since these recorders can stream and record at the same time, a live Learning Glass class can be streamed live and then posted later to the LMS for video-on-demand.

Additional resources for the Learning Glass may be found at this website:

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Lecture Capture and Creation

The topic of “Lecture Capture” is frequently in the news with discussions and debates on benefits, costs, educational outcomes and technology. There is some confusion, though, about what video in the classroom means and there are really multiple uses for this technology. The types of videos created and the purposes for which they are used can vary substantially, and it’s a mistake to throw all classroom video into one bucket called “lecture capture”. Here is our take on this topic:

Lecture Capture is the recording of the daily lectures in a documentary fashion and the posting of those videos on a website or learning management system for student review. The instructor walks into a classroom and presses the Record-Start button, talks for 50 minutes, presses the Record-Stop button and walks out. By the time the instructor returns to their office the lecture has been automatically posted on-line and is available to the students.

Lecture Creation is used to prepare short, 3-10 minute videos on single topics for use in MOOCs or flipped classrooms. The students are given the assignment to view the videos on their own and further discussion of the contents of the video is left for the classroom, usually in an interactive or problem solving environment.

Performance Capture is used where the subject of the recording is the student instead of the instructor. The student is given some assignment or task, the activity or event is recorded, and later an assessment is done by reviewing the video with the instructor. We see this frequently in activities such as medical training simulations and exercises, mock trials for lawyers, behavior therapy counseling sessions and business school student presentations.

Event Capture is a general category where recording equipment is used to capture special events on campus such as graduation speeches, presentations by visiting scholars and Nobel laureates and other meetings of interest. The videos are frequently post-produced by professional video editors and often highlights are extracted for other purposes such as marketing or news.

In all of the above cases the availability of video online enhances the educational experience and promotes dispersion of knowledge in that educational community (and maybe even to the world at large).